Can Neck Surgery Or Back Surgery Make Things Worse?
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Why Neck Surgery/Back Surgery Can Actually Make Things Worse

man's neck under the X-rays. bones are highlighted in red. back surgery

Are you considering surgery to fix neck/back pain?

It’s natural to want a quick fix for neck or back pain. But, while surgery may seem like an obvious solution for chronic pain stemming from an injury or other medical condition, there is a chance that the issue can be made worse rather than better.

Yes, really. In fact, the medical literature suggests that up to 75% of spine surgical procedures are unnecessary and fail to provide long-term relief. And of those interventions that provide benefits, many come with serious financial and physical costs.

In this blog post, we look more closely at why opting for neck or back surgery isn’t always the best choice and suggest some alternative treatments you may want to consider if you’re struggling with ongoing discomfort in your musculoskeletal system.

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What Causes Neck/Back Pain?

If you wake up in the morning feeling stiff and sore, or maybe your neck and back suddenly bother you after sitting or standing for extended periods, there can be many causes of this type of pain. But it’s important to understand the true source of this discomfort so that you can take appropriate steps to combat it and stay as healthy as possible. 

There are quite a few causes of back and neck pain. One of the most common is poor posture. Spending hours and hours hunching over a computer or phone takes a toll on your neck and back. Another culprit is carrying heavy bags or backpacks, which can strain your cervical spine and shoulder muscles.

And let’s remember stress. When we’re stressed, our muscles tense up, which can cause pain and discomfort. These are just a few examples, but many other factors can contribute to neck and back pain. But it’s important to be aware of these causes to prevent them from impacting your daily life and causing pain.

Poor Posture and How to Correct It 

neck surgery and back surgery need caused by shown poor posture

Did you know that poor posture can cause and exacerbate various medical issues, such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, and digestive issues?

So, if you spend a lot of time sitting or hunched over a computer, it’s important to be aware of your posture and correct it to prevent or ease back and neck pain. One way to improve your posture is to ensure your workspace is set up ergonomically – that means adjusting your chair, keyboard and monitors to ensure everything is at the correct height. Regular breaks to stretch and move your body can alleviate the effects of sitting for long periods. 

Also, have you ever noticed that one side of your body is stronger than the other? 

This is another common issue that many people with back and neck pain face called muscular imbalance. It can occur when there is an overuse of certain muscles causing them to become stronger than others.

Not addressing muscular imbalance can lead to serious injuries, chronic back, and neck pain, and even affect your posture. The good news is that there are ways to address this issue and bring your muscles back into balance.

You may be familiar with therapies that encourage strengthening of “weak” muscles or “reactivating” muscles that have been “turned off”. This sometimes can help. However, there are often troubles in the myofascial system that surrounds the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that is preventing muscular balance.

When this is the case, you will need thorough assessment with a myofascial release therapist to identify areas of restriction, followed by a treatment program to resolve the issues and an at home myofascial program to maintain changes. With this approach, any strengthening you do will become much more effective.

What Are The Risks And Dangers Of Neck/Back Surgery

Fitness, back pain and injury with a sports man holding his sore body while outdoor for a workout. Exercise, anatomy and accident with a male athlete feeling tender while training or running alone.

While it can be tempting when you’re desperate to ease chronic pain, it’s important to know the risks involved before going under the knife. There’s always a chance of complications during surgery, such as nerve damage and bleeding, which can lead to more pain and discomfort.

Additionally, neck/back surgery doesn’t always result in a successful outcome and can even worsen the condition. There’s also the possibility of experiencing adverse reactions to anesthesia and medications or a post-surgical infection. So, it’s crucial to explore all options and thoroughly discuss them with your doctor before deciding if neck/back surgery is the right choice for you.

Why Neck/Back Surgery Isn’t A “Quick Fix”

Neck and back pain can really negatively affect your life – making even the simplest tasks an ordeal. Unfortunately, many assume surgery will be a quick fix and instantly resolve their discomfort. Sadly, this isn’t always the case.

Neck and back (spinal) surgeries are complex procedures that require time and effort. Recovery can also be a slow process – and in rare cases, the surgery can worsen things. It’s important to set realistic expectations and understand that recovery may take some time.

In addition, it is important to recognize that whatever caused the need for surgery in the first place will likely not be resolved by surgery. Spinal fusions and disc replacements primarily address the result of too much pressure and stress on the spine.

Often, troubles in the myofascial system are the cause of spinal troubles. Over time, unaddressed myofascial restrictions pull muscles and bones into distortion and dysfunction. Surgeries may fix the result of this distortion and dysfunction – fusing vertebrae or replacing discs – but it does not address or correct the cause. 

Subsequently, a high percentage of surgeries may be considered successful in terms of the procedure. But the patient may not experience a reduction in pain. Sometimes, pain can even increase as there is now scar tissue that is adding additional stress to the body. 

That is not to say that surgery is not a viable option and sometimes necessary thing.

Just be mindful that it can sometimes make things worse than they already are. When you go under the knife for these types of procedures, you’re tampering with some of the most intricate and sensitive parts of your body. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of your surgeon, they can inadvertently damage nerves or other structures during the surgery.

This damage can lead to more issues than you started with. Unaddressed myofascial restrictions will not be fixed by surgery. And scar tissue will add to any existing trouble, making it worse over time.

When you understand the risks, you can make informed decisions about your health and weigh the benefits against the potential side effects. After all, your health should always be your top priority.

“What Can I Do Instead?”

back surgery made pain worse

Sometimes, surgery is the only option. But if you’re not in that camp yet and wondering what to do. Don’t worry. There are many proactive ways to ease your pain and avoid neck/back surgery. But the key is to act quickly and seek help from a professional at the first sign of trouble. Please don’t leave it to chance. 

Physical therapy and myofascial release therapy are two methods that have proven effective in treating various neck/back conditions and preventing surgery. These methods, particularly myofascial release therapy, can often provide more long-term benefits than surgery, which can be invasive and come with risks. Why?

Because we dig deeper than allopathic medicine doctors and find the root cause and true source of your pain instead of just treating the presenting symptoms with a sledgehammer

We can address the underlying causes of your neck/back pain problems before they require surgery and get to work on a personalized treatment plan that promotes total-body healing and recovery.

In fact, choosing myofascial release therapy over surgery could impact your health and well-being for years to come. And, it doesn’t come with any of the dangerous risks of spinal surgery.

That’s for sure. 

How To Treat Neck/Back Pain Without Surgery

Cropped photo of experienced massage therapist hands kneading sides of person back

When considering your options for neck/back pain treatment, the idea of surgery can be terrifying, to say the least. But don’t fret because there are effective ways to manage and heal your discomfort without going under the knife. 

First and foremost, it’s important to prioritize rest and relaxation. Taking breaks throughout the day, getting plenty of sleep, and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation can all help to ease the tension and stress in your muscles and connective tissue (fascia) and promote healing.

Additionally, myofascial release therapy can work wonders for alleviating pain and minimizing the need for surgery. And, of course, incorporating gentle exercises like yoga or swimming can help strengthen your muscles, relax and rehydrate your fascia, and prevent future discomfort.

So, before you start stressing about the possibility of surgery, rest assured that there are plenty of non-surgical approaches to managing your neck and back pain.

In conclusion, neck/back surgery is risky and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some people expect a quick fix, but it only sometimes works out that way. In some cases, surgery might worsen an existing condition.

Despite this risk, there are alternatives to surgery to consider if you’re experiencing neck/back pain. Myofascial release therapy, particularly, can bring great relief without the risks posed by surgery.

Before opting for neck/back surgery, it’s essential to understand the potential risks associated with the procedure and weigh them against your personal choices. By doing adequate research and seeking out non-surgical solutions like myofascial release therapy first, you have a much better chance of finding a lasting solution without taking on unnecessary risk. 

Myofascial release therapy can be a game changer when it comes to managing back and neck pain. It’s no secret that dealing with pain is no walk in the park – it can be a constant annoyance or even debilitating.

But myofascial release therapy can alleviate some of that discomfort and eventually eliminate it altogether. Plus, you get the bonus of some much-needed whole body improvement.

It’s a win-win situation. So go ahead, book yourself a free Discovery Visit and find out for yourself just how much it can do to resolve your neck or back troubles.


Michael Sudbury LMT

Michael Sudbury LMT

Michael has been in pursuit of uncommon wisdom practically since the day he was born. This has led him through many twists and turns, questioning philosophies and excelling in school only to drop out near the end, abandoning career paths. He has a scientific mind but has come to understand that life and love require artistry, not facts, figures, and protocols. In his pursuit of true therapeutic artistry, Michael has trained extensively with the creator of The John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release Approach®, John Barnes, PT, LMT, NCTMB (a therapist and teacher of the highest caliber) and has been an assistant instructor in his seminars.